Rough Sea at Etretat (1868 – 1869) by Claude Monet

Rough Sea at Etretat - Claude Monet - 1868 - 1869

Artwork Information

TitleRough Sea at Etretat
ArtistClaude Monet
Date1868 - 1869
Dimensions131 x 66 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationMusée d'Orsay, Paris, France

About Rough Sea at Etretat

The artwork in question, “Rough Sea at Etretat,” is an impressionist landscape painting by the renowned artist Claude Monet, dating back to the period between 1868 and 1869. Executed in oil on canvas, the piece measures 131 by 66 centimeters. This quintessential impressionist work is housed within the Musée d’Orsay located in Paris, France.

In “Rough Sea at Etretat,” Claude Monet masterfully captures the dynamic and tumultuous nature of the sea. The horizon line is set relatively high on the canvas, allowing for a broad view of the agitated ocean waves that dominate the scene. To the left, the imposing cliffs of Étretat can be seen, partially engulfed by the spray and power of the sea, their dark forms creating a stark contrast with the frothy whitecaps of the waves. The sense of movement and raw energy of the sea is effectively conveyed through Monet’s brisk brushstrokes and the interplay of light and dark hues.

On the shore, a group of figures is observed gathered, likely marveling at the natural spectacle. They add a sense of scale and remind the viewer of the human presence, minuscule in comparison to the vastness of nature. The maritime palette dominated by grays and blues with whites accentuating the ocean’s foam, reflects the overcast sky, and the atmospheric conditions that were of continuous interest to Monet and his exploration of natural light in his work. The artwork evokes the fleeting nature of the moment, a hallmark of the impressionist movement, which sought to portray the sensory effects of a scene rather than the fine details.

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